The Nikkei 225 sank 660 points or 2.17% to end at 29,840 on Tuesday, its lowest close in nearly 3 weeks, as investors returned from a holiday and reacted to a potential default from Chinese property giant Evergrande and await the outcomes of Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan meetings. BoJ is expected to keep policy steady on Wednesday but could offer a bleaker view on exports and output due to the pandemic. SoftBank Group declined the most (-5%), followed by air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries (-4.71%) and supplier of chip equipment Tokyo Electron (-2.45%). Still, this month the index is up 6%, on hopes new political leadership and falling COVID-19 cases could speed up economic recovery. Local media said that discussions will be held for lifting its state of emergency at the end of this month, as currently planned. Meantime, health authorities said that the strain on the Japanese medical system is easing.
The Shanghai Composite Index went up 7 points or 0.2% to finish at 3,614 on Friday, reversing from a slight fall in the early session, after reports that the PBoC today injected a total of CNY 100 billion of reverse repos to maintain liquidity in the banking system, the most since February. For the week, however, the index sank 2.4%, dragged down by Beijing's regulatory crackdown after a series of overhaul on industries and sporadic COVID-19 cases in China. In Hong Kong, shares added 1% after plunging to a near 11-month low Thursday. For the week, however, the Hang Seng index tumbled 4.9%, as traders were nervous following reports that Macau began an overhaul of the rules governing 'Asia's Las Vegas'. The SSE will be closed on September 20th and 21st for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The BSE SENSEX was little changed around midday on Tuesday after falling nearly 1% in the prior session, as traders await the result of the FOMC meeting that will start later in the day and conclude Wednesday. Globally, the Dow Jones overnight ended at its lowest since July 19th, and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq suffered their biggest daily percentage drops since May, amid rising coronavirus cases. Market participants also continued to keep their eyes on trouble in China's property market and everything exposed to the cash-strapped developer Evergrande, primarily banks and the broader economy. On the pandemic side, India expects to get its first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses from next month, filled and finished in India by a partner of the US drugmaker according to Reuters. Gains in some energy and consumer good stocks countered losses in auto scrips.
The ASX 200 was up 26 points or 0.35% to finish at 7,274 on Tuesday following a slight drop in the early session after RBA's meeting minutes showed that Australia's economy will return to its pre-Delta path by mid-2022, supported by acceleration in vaccinations and an easing in curbs. On the COVID-19 side, New South Wales is on track to hit its 70% double jab target earlier than estimated as the state saw 1,022 new cases today. Meantime, authorities shut down construction sites in Melbourne for two weeks from today after an anti-vaccine protest in the city turned violent and new infections in Victoria surged. Traders now look to the Fed on Wednesday for any insight into the tapering timeline as well as economic projections. They also continued to follow the saga on the Chinese property market, as Evergrande is due to make bond interest payments Thursday. BHP and Rio Tinto attempted to bounce back from a nine-month low hit on Monday amid demand fears.